Friday, December 30, 2005

Spuds ‘R’ Us

I’ve been cutting down on the spuds this year in a vain attempt to reduce the overall girth of the household.

OK, it’s probably just a vain attempt. Who knows?

However, tonight’s dinner cried out for spudmania.

White fish on spinach with cream sauce.

The fish yelled for potatoes. The spinach yelled for potatoes. I capitulated.

But, what potato dish to do? It had to be something new so I pulled out my French Country cookbook and found the following:

Thin slice some potatoes and rinse them well and dry them off. Season.
In a large pot boil up some cream and butter and garlic.
Dump in the potatoes and simmer for 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, butter a baking dish, heat the oven to 350.
Dump the potatoes into the baking dish and cover with Gruyere.
Bake for 90 minutes.

Very much like potatoes au gratin, in fact, almost exactly like potatoes au gratin except that I have never simmered the potato slices in cream before.

In short: Rave Reviews.

There were no actual fights during the serving of this meal, but there was a tense staredown over the ultimate crusty bit in the pan on the table.

“You going to eat that?”

“I was thinking about it. You?”

“I was thinking about it, too. I’m older, you know. It’s my right.”

“It’s my birthday. Birthday trumps right.”

Short pause.

“Arm wrestle you for it.”


“You heard me. Chicken.”

“I’m not chicken and I’m not arm wrestling you and it’s still my birthday.”

“Yeah, maybe. For two hours maybe.”

“That golden bit of cheesy, buttery potato ambrosia ain’t going to last two seconds. Loser.”

“Yeah? Well, you just wait a few months until my birthday and we’ll see. Yeah, we’ll just see!” And a little tear fell to the table.

The teary bluff was called, the golden, cheesy, buttery potato morsel was scooped up, deposited down the hatch and the Birthday Girl slumped back in her chair, a smile upon her lips, drool running out of the corner of her mouth and proceeded to utter contented noises.

We didn’t bother putting her to bed. We just threw a sheet over her and turned off the kitchen lights. Some things are best left undisturbed.


charlie wagner said...

This is a variation of the classic "Pommes Anna" or potato anna. Often it contains onions, thyme and nutmeg. They're quite good and easy to prepare. If you search around, you'll find dozens of good recipes for variations of "pommes anna".

Bret said...

Three words, twice:

1) Potatoes Anna suck.

We apparently chose a defective option out of the dozens of recipes for Pommes Anna; by sheer coincidence we happened to have them ourselves today. I'm pretty sure it read something like, "slice a lot of potatoes, cook them until they're dry and tasteless, and throw out before serving."

2) Potatoes of Doom: A family recipe we pull out when we need a good funeral to cheer us all up. I'll have to post the recipe sometime, but it involves potatoes, 27 cheeses, heavy cream, 12 tubs of butter, the rendered fat of a large mammal (a vat of Crisco is an acceptable substitute), and several gallons of vegetable oil.

Oh, and an egg white -- got to watch the cholesterol.